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Beauty off the beaten track


New Zealand has long enjoyed a love affair with rugged, handsome properties in off the beaten track locations. David Maurice of LTD Architectural Design Studio lives and breathes such architectural challenges and his 'Backcountry House' based in Puhoi captured the hearts and imaginations of this year's esteemed panel of judges overseeing the ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards.

The winner of the Residential New Home between 150m2-300m2 Architectural Design Award, the property's exceptional result owes to a myriad of factors, from the ambitious concept to the breathtaking creation.

Set against a backdrop of quintessential New Zealand land - think dense bush populating a secluded slice of rural paradise - the property certainly plays to the unique architectural typology of the Kiwi backcountry hut without resorting to any cliches. It has a distinct and authentic personality that is truly its own.

With 20 years' experience in the industry working in high-end commercial and residential sectors for leading practices in the United Kingdom and on home soil, Maurice's talent is palpable in his project's end result. Moreover, telltale signs of his carpentry experience in his early years make a delightful impression throughout the home, starting with the extensive use of locally sourced bandsawn macrocarpa inside and out.

This iconic material is perfectly complemented by the presence of rough hewn
natural materials, which create harmony between dwelling and setting. Ever-iconic galvanised corrugated iron was used to strengthen the hut's aesthetic.

Inspired by energy efficiency values, Maurice ensured the home's fundamentals, including heating and ventilation, would have minimal impact on the environment, choosing high performance insulation materials.

While technologically innovative, the single volume dwelling's ethos is still firmly rooted in simplicity - an attractive quality that carries through the layout of the home. Spaces are open and shared, inviting enhanced connection between inhabitants and the surrounding environment. The living area opens fully on two sides, creating the feel of an outdoor room, and the fire and baths located on the deck draw daily activities out of the house and into nature.

The judges said: "The Backcountry House shows a clever use of the volume inside a primary form. All spaces are multi-functional and/or adaptable. Judicious detailing, demonstrating a high level of craft and conceptual awareness from all involved, allows the primary design proposition to be presented on strong terms."